The Qianjiazhai Dongsa Cooperative was established to be a steward to the oldest tea forest in the world, wild-foraging and hand-finishing every leaf using traditional craft.
Available both loose leaf and in pressed 100g cake, this tea is picked from the early spring buds of the Camellia Crassicolumna (厚轴茶) tree, a close relative of tea native to Qianjiazhai. Crassicolumna is naturally caffeine-free and rich in antioxidants. Yabao buds are extremely sweet and packed with flavor since they are the early shoots of the plant that would otherwise become new branches. The giant buds picked from this wild-growing tree stock are allowed to gently sun dry without any heat processing to keep the most natural flavor. Wild crassicolumna trees can be anywhere between several hundred and over a thousand years old, and are incredibly tall and difficult to climb to harvest these precious buds, but the rich nuanced flavor and lingering aftertaste is worthwhile.
This tea tree (camellia sinensis var. assmica) yabao offshoot in Qianjiazhai will soon become a new branch.
wildly propagated crassicolumna; photo credit Lily Duckler